How Much Does a Ductless Heat Pump Cost?
$2,760 – $5,680, Installed
Average Cost Of a Ductless Heat Pump with Installation
The average cost to install a mini-split, dustless heat pump is around $3,960 when installed by a local HVAC pro. For the do-it-yourselfers out there, you can buy the unit and install a 2 ton ductless heat pump for around $2,180 after unit and supplies cost.
When hiring a professional HVAC contractor to do the job, they will generally provide the ductless heat pump, all install supplies, permits where needed, a warranty and all labor cost for the complete installation.
Overview of Ductless Heat Pumps
A mini split heat pump system is called a ductless system for the obvious reason that no ductwork has to be used. Instead, the outdoor unit, called a condensing unit, is installed outside. It can hang on the outside wall or be installed on a pad. unlike a ductless AC unit, the heat pump works to provide both heating and cooling.
The indoor units are called evaporator units. Each indoor unit is connected to the outside unit with a refrigerant line, power line and drain line installed through a hole cut in the wall. There are several types of indoor units including ceiling, wall and those that can be installed inside existing ductwork. Each indoor unit has its own remote control with thermostat.
There are three C’s to ductless mini split heat pump systems.
- Capacity: Outdoor units range in size from 5,000 to 78,000 BTUs.
- Configuration: Each indoor unit has a BTU capacity too. The outdoor unit can support a one or more indoor units, but the collective BTUs of the indoor units can’t exceed the output of the outdoor unit. At least not by much. For example, a 24K BTU outdoor unit can support one 24K BTU indoor unit, two 12K units or three 8K units and so forth.
- Cost: System cost goes up with each additional indoor unit because it must be individually installed.
This Costimate includes itemized mini split heat pump prices for indoor and outdoor units and installation. Costs from around the web are listed too, and we invite readers to share their ductless split system costs.
Note on mini split heat pump costs. Many online estimate sites show average costs for these systems to be less than $4,000. They are clearly only estimating the price of a single zone ductless system. Our aim here is to be comprehensive. We itemize costs below, so you can accurately estimate what your planned system will cost.
Product Cost Details
Ductless Heat Pump Price Factors
This section gives more detail to the mini split heat pump price factors listed in the table at the top.
- Outdoor Unit Size – Starting at 5,000 single-zone units, they can be as large as 72,000 BTUs that serve up to 8 zones.
- Number of Indoor Units – Increasing indoor units raises both equipment and installation labor cost. For example, two 12,000 BTU indoor units cost more than one 24,000 BTU unit, and each must be installed with a line set and drain.
- Type of Indoor Units – Your options are wall mounted ($$), floor mounted ($$$), ceiling cassettes ($$$), in-duct units placed in existing ducts ($$$) and ducted units which are small sections of duct installed in a ceiling or wall ($$$). The last two types are concealed, which some homeowners prefer aesthetically.
- Efficiency – Cost goes up, all else being equal, as efficiency rises. Current SEER ratings are 15 SEER to 38 SEER.
- Brand Quality – Brands with standard quality like MrCool, Gree, Pioneer, Klimaire and Blueridge cost less than premium brands like Samsung, Mitsubishi, Daikin, Friedrich, Toshiba/Carrier, Trane, LG and Panasonic.
- Removal and Disposal of Old Equipment – While not a costly part of the job, it will raise it slightly.
- Cost of Living – Prices are higher in major metro areas, especially in highly populated areas like New England and the NW Coast.
Retail Cost Range (Equipment Only)
Let’s first look at ductless mini split heat pump prices. Below, we itemize installation cost.
Most ductless heat pumps are sold in a package with the outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. For example, a popular 48,000 BTU kit configuration is two 15K indoor units and two 9K indoor units, for a total of 48K. You can buy the components separately too to customize your system.
Here are ductless heat pump costs by number of zones and by BTU:
Priced by zones:
- $800 – $6,200 | Single zone ductless heat pump: 5,000 to 42,000 BTU. A few large single-zone systems with a ceiling cassette indoor unit exceed this price spectrum.
- $1,200 – $6,800 | Dual zone ductless heat pump: 14,000 to 48,000 BTU.
- $1,600 – $7,800 | Tri-zone ductless heat pump: 21,000 to 54,000 BTU.
- $2,200 – $8,500 | 4-zone or quad zone ductless heat pump: 28,000 to 78,000 BTU.
- $2,800 – $10,500 | 5-zone to 8-zone ductless heat pump: 35,000 to 78,000 BTU.
Priced by system BTUs:
- $800 – $2,300 | 9,000 BTU
- $850 – $2,500 | 12,000 BTU
- $1,150 – $5,500 | 18,000 BTU
- $1,205 – $6,600 | 24,000 BTU
- $2,100 – $7,800 | 30,000 BTU
- $2,600 – $8,600 | 36,000 BTU
- $3,100 – $9,500 | 42,000 BTU
- $3,400 – $10,000 | 48,000 BTU
- $4,400 – $10,500+ | 60,000 – 78,000 BTU
Cost of Installation Supplies
Each indoor unit needs several installation accessories, which can be bought in a set that includes refrigerant line set, line set cover, surge protector, wire whip, disconnect box and drain tube.
- $175 – $800 | Installation kit
- $50 – $200 | Pad for ground installation
- $60-$175 | Rack and hardware for wall installation of an outside unit.
- $65 – $115 | Electrical wire, and/or new breaker switch for connecting to power.
Permits, Inspection, and Unit Installation Costs
- $50 – $200 | Installation of a mini split ductless heat pump requires a permit for the electrical connection.
Installation Labor Cost
Now that we’ve covered equipment and accessory costs, here are mini split heat pump installation costs for the required labor.
- $1,200 – $2,300 | Single zone heat pump installation of outdoor unit and one indoor unit
- $1,650 – $2,800 | Dual zone heat pump installation of outdoor unit and two indoor units
- $200 – $325 | Installation of each additional indoor unit beyond two.
Installation Labor Factors
There are a couple of factors affecting installation labor cost:
- Installation Difficulty – Each job has its own complexities. Brick or stucco is harder to install through than vinyl siding or wood. Second-floor installation is harder than first-floor work.
- Installer Demand – During the busy season, which varies across the country, you’ll get higher estimates than when contractors are short on work. For example, in Phoenix, winter is the slow time since there is little need for heating work. That’s a busy time in cold climates, but early spring or mid-fall are less busy.
Ductless heat pump installation takes 1-4 days in most homes.
Here are common time frames for crews of two to four people:
- 1-1.5 days | Remove old equipment and install a single-zone or dual zone system
- 2-4 days | Remove old equipment and install a system with 3 to 8 indoor units
DIY or Hire a Pro
There are two types of ductless heat pumps when it comes to refrigeration: Pre-charged and those that are not pre-charged.
DIY-Yes: Some pre-charged systems are approved for DIY installation by the manufacturer. Brands making DIY-approved ductless heat pumps include Pioneer, Ideal-Air, MrCool and Senville. Not all heat pumps from those brands are approved for homeowner installation, so double-check before you buy if you intend to install it yourself
DIY-No: Systems that are not pre-charged with refrigerant must be installed by a certified contractor with a refrigerant/CFC license. Most manufacturers void the warranty of any equipment installed DIY when pro installation is required. This video from Ideal-Air gives more information.
A couple friends are experienced DIY homeowners. They found a contractor that worked with them on a pro-install Mitsubishi system. They installed a couple outside units and six indoor units including cutting the holes in the walls and fishing through the line set and drain. Then, the certified installer made the electrical connection and charged the system.
During the busy HVAC season, it’s unlikely any contractor will agree to this, unless they overcharge for their time. If you install during a slow period for HVAC companies in your area, you might be able to make this kind of arrangement.